The inevitable happened. My dad’s oldest sister passed away on Monday night, at about 11:30 p.m. Cleveland time.
I had been texting with my cousin’s wife that day, wishing I could be there holding my Tante’s hand, wanting to know what was happening at every second. The whole family wished we could be with her. In the end, her last breaths were heard by her husband, her son, and her daughter-in-law. Exactly the way it should have been.
Many of you know I went back to say goodbye when Tante Lucy left the hospital to spend the rest of her days at home. The woman kept her wits about her until the very end, for that I am grateful. One morning as she ate breakfast, I asked her how she had slept the night before.
Vell, I slept good, she said, because da people are finally gone.
The people? What people? The nurses who check on you?
No, no, da people over dere. She pointed to the corner of her room. Dey come and dey talk, but da light is bright and dey are so noisy. But Oma is dere and Opa is dere and I vill go to dem soon.
Now if Lucy and been flowing in and out of consciousness, I would have attributed this to hallucinations. But as the hospice nurse said, she rose above the seriousness of her illness. That stubborn German didn’t allow herself to act as sick as she was. I don’t think she was imagining things.
I really believe Tante Lucy saw where she’d be going.
When Barb sent me the final text on Monday night, I didn’t cry right away. For the past month and a half I’ve shed many tears and mourned, but when my aunt finally passed, my body was filled a sense of peace, of joy, of love. Those words don’t give this feeling justice.
It’s almost as if I’m not 2500 miles from Lucy any more. She is right here in my soul.
On the September night I flew back from Cleveland, my theater friends got together for a little sing-a-long. (Because that’s what theater people do, duh.) When I landed, this video was waiting in my text messages. I know it will touch you as it did me.
Goodbye, my Tante Lucy. I love you.